(1312-04-21) Spring Tournament: Performance Contest
Summary: What it says in the title.
RL Date: Tue Apr 21, 2020
Related: Spring Tournament
alair armandine audrialla bastien estelle etienne farah gabriel ortolette valerie yves 

Auditorium — Opera of Marsilikos

The auditorium, the heart of l'Opera Marsilikos, is as opulent as the foyer. Seating in the stalls and circle is upholstered in tones of crushed grape and gold, this matching the safety curtains of the stage and the draperies wound about gilded stucco columns. Several private boxes are available for those that are willing to pay for the privacy and better views of the stage that sitting within one provides, though the grandest of these is reserved for the Ducal family and favoured guests, easily recognised by the de Mereliot Crest it displays. Chandeliers glitter against a backdrop of a night-painted ceiling, and further illumination is provided by crystal sconces affixed to the walls.

Today, it is all about the arts. And so there has been a shift of location for this particular contest, as it won't take place on the tournament field, but in the more elegant and inspiring setting that the opera of Marsilikos can provide. While commoners are allowed to attend, there are definitely more nobles present. Most have already found themselves a seat in the audience where they lounge, speaking in hushed tones and anticipation of the event. There is the Ducal Box of course, and this is where the Duchesse of Eisande, Armandine de Mereliot has settled herself and a few of her close family along with a few of those young ladies that wait upon her. For now, a few people are still filtering in, but apparently, the contest will start soon, as only a few vacant places are left in the auditorium.

Étienne is dressed for the competition as the Green Man. Eyes of a richly saturated blue, like the southern sea, peer out of an elaborate mask of leaves and vines cut from cleverly layered starched fabric. Ribbons decorated in various shade of green dangle from the mask to mingle with thick, shoulder length curls in the back. The Arguil heir is also wearing a very fashionable short cut tunic of forest green with black brocade leaf and vine inspired embroidery. Good quality green and black parti-coloured hose show off his muscled legs and he has pointy toed boots dyed green to match. He has with him a ceremonial sword, to which he has attached green tassels. The young nobleman steps out with Azzallese grace and makes an elaborate bow with a flourish of the sword.

With everyone mostly settled, there is an expectant silence that falls over the audience. This may have to do with the fact that lamps are dimmed at the walls, leaving the stage in the spot light. With a soft rustle of skirts, the Lady of Marsilikos rises to her feet, to lift her hand in greeting to all those gathered. "Welcome today to the competition of the arts," she intones in her gentle voice. "It pleases me so much to make the announcement that this particular contest is about to start. I, as a true Mereliot and scion of Eisande have been looking forward to this, in particular. And so…" Her gaze drifts and she nods to her herald. "I shall ask the first contestant to come forth…" She notes Étienne and she smiles. "I believe we shall start with you, Lord Étienne d'Arguil. If you would make this less of a violent spectacle than what we saw on the tournament field at the duels, I'll be very much pleased." After which she sits down again, turning her attention towards the stage.

<FS3> Etienne rolls Dancing: Success. (3 1 5 2 1 5 5 3 2 1 8 1)
<FS3> Etienne rolls Blades: Great Success. (2 4 7 7 2 3 3 1 7 7 8)
<FS3> Etienne rolls Dancing: Success. (1 5 1 2 1 3 7 2 2 6 6 3)
Etienne spends 1 luck points on Dance Fever.
<FS3> Etienne rolls Dancing: Good Success. (6 3 2 6 2 7 2 5 5 3 6 8)

Étienne bows a low to the Lady of Marsilikos, elegant as the sweep of a bird's wing. A hired musician begins to play a popular galliard. He begins to dance the figure, bowing to an imaginary partner, moving through the stylized pattern with the beauty of movement that runs in his blood, fluid and light as a deer leaping over a brook. He simply dances for a bit, joyous and youthful, but gradually, he begins to include the sweep and parry of his sword into the dance, the stylized movements of a practice form blended subtly with the arm positions of the formal dance. Bit by bit the steps of the figure become warlike, though still beautiful.

By the third pass, he has turned the step and spins and leaps of the liveliest of court dances into a battle with phantoms even more graceful and fluid as the dance was before, the mime so perfect one can easily imagine the parries and thrusts of three opponents as he dispatches them all in time with the music of the lute and the beat of the tabor. He ends with a wild flourish, beheading his partner with a spin to present himself on his knee center stage, head bowed and sword held parallel on the flats of he palms, exactly on the last beat of the song.

As member of House Mereliot, it is required to attend official occasions as this one — and yet there is nothing of duty present in the expression of Farah de Mereliot, but delight. The foreign looking lady has taken a seat not too far from the ducal box, attired in a high-waisted dress in the blue and gold colors of her House, with her dark hair pulled back and arranged in a fashionable do. When Étienne starts his performance, she leans forward, and her dark eyes glitter with delight and surprise. Once the dance is over she applauds enthusiastically, perhaps reminded of some saber dances she has witnessed a long time ago, in Khebbel-im-Akkad.

Seated in attendance, Lord Yves Valliers is quietly paying attention to the proceedings. His eyes moving from face to face as he tries to figure out who will win this year. He knows he's woefully unprepared to do any sort of performance at this level, and so doesn't even put forth the effort, but perhaps in the future he might make a fool of himself. Midway through his introspective look around the area, he hears the words from the Duchesse, pauses and turns his attention to the stage. Watching Lord Etienne, he gives a good cheer and enthusiastic applause for the excellent performance. His sort of performance at that, one involving blades!

At a table to the side, a jury of five people are taking notes. There is definitely grace in the performance, and… it also has that slightly dangerous aura, pleasant enough for cultivated people that want to be entertained, such as those in the audience. And there is more than one there, tapping in time with the beat of the drums as the dance progresses towards its finale. Once Étienne is done, there is a loud applause filling the auditorium, along with cries such as "Bravo!", "Well done!", "Such a fine spectacle!" The herald nods towards Étienne and then looks around for who will be next. "Mademoiselle Audrialla. Please come forth and present to us what you have prepared," the herald calls, in a surprisingly gentle tone that somehow attempts to follow Armandine's example.

Étienne leaps up and gives them another bow to the ladies nd the judges and the audience each, a dimpled smile visible beneath the mask. He sheaths his sword and steps lightly into the wings to put away his mask and come join the audience.

Cooking is an art, to the D'Angeline, so it comes as no surprise the patissiere Audrialla has entered the completion. Golden hair is pulled up into an elegant twist, with an off-the-shoulder gown of nearly sheer linen to accent her figure, beaded in brass and adorned with gold embroidered flowers.

She makes her way to the stage with a cart bearing a replica of the Dome of the Lady, cunningly rendered in cake with spun sugar-glass minarets and the famed dome itself covered in an edible gold leaf. Chocolate trees and delicate candied flowers recreate the gardens. After pausing to let the crowd admire the work, she slices into the corner with a silver pastry knife and cuts off portions - fresh strawberries and clotted cream filling inside with fluffy white cake. The replica is large enough to feed much of the crowd in the theatre. "If my lords and ladies care to have their tasters come receive a piece first?" She's always acutely aware of poison risk.

<FS3> Audrialla rolls Baking: Good Success. (6 3 6 7 3 8 4 2 2 5 7)
<FS3> Audrialla rolls Painting: Great Success. (8 4 7 7 8)
<FS3> Audrialla rolls Presence: Success. (3 5 7)
Audrialla spends 1 luck points on Baking can be better!.
<FS3> Audrialla rolls Baking: Great Success. (6 4 1 1 1 8 4 1 8 8 7)

Ah, there is cake! And into the impressed "Oh"s and "Ah"s rises Farah de Mereliot to get a better view at the artfully prepared large cake. "Companions! This is incredible!", she exclaims and waves for her maid to get her one of those slices — not really insisting on having it tasted beforehand.

Leaping to his feet when food is offered, Yves glances around to see how others are moving, seeing mostly servants being sent and ends up sliding past several people, speaking cordially as best he can to offset the show of poor manners. The big youth not necessarily pushing anyone out of the way, but enthusiastic for the opportunity. "Excuse me, oh, it's nice to see your Lord," he speaks amiably, and turning sideways ends up on the stage in short order. "This looks wonderful," he says to Audrialla.

Standing backstage, awaiting his own turn upon the stage, Bastien Aubrey de Mereliot watches Etienne. Once the performance is completed, the young noble applauds. Just because you are in a competition against one another does not mean that you can not cheer for your opponents' accomplishments. As Audrialla's cake is brought out, he stands dumb-founded. He dares not try a piece of the cake before he sings, so he dearly hopes that there is a piece left after he sings.

Armandine had watched from her box, and some light of the lamps had caught in her honey-blonde hair, as the duchesse turned her head to get a good view of the wonderful cake that is being brought in. She, too, rises to her feet to offer a nod of her head to the baker, in acknowledgement of her undeniable skill.

The jury are taking notes after inspecting the cake, and soon return to their tables, with only one of them munching on a piece of cake, rolling their eyes in heavenly delight.

"Delightful, delightful…" The herald allows, after a while. Because, servants and maids aren't yet quite done with getting slices of cake for their lords and ladies. "While you are… eating." He smirks, "Perhaps you'd like to be entertained by our next competitor, Lord Bastien de Mereliot. He is blessed with talent, of course, as so many Mereliots are! So… My lord, please. You may commence."

Audrialla is truly a master of her art. Not only is the cake delicious; moist, and full of flavor, the artistic rendering of the Dome is remarkable. She carries herself with confidence and pride as the cake is handed out to those desiring of a taste of her entry. She curtsies for Yves as she smiles prettily. "It's my pleasure. I'm just pleased that I can enter. I think this is one of my finest ever." She lets the cake be wheeled to the side and exits the stage.

<FS3> Bastien rolls Singing: Amazing Success. (7 7 8 1 3 1 8 5 1 7 8 6 1 6 5 8)
<FS3> Bastien rolls Singing: Good Success. (5 5 4 8 6 6 6 3 4 6 1 3 2 6 1 8)
<FS3> Bastien rolls Singing: Good Success. (3 6 8 3 5 3 1 4 2 1 6 6 5 3 3 7)

"It's very beautiful, can I have a," Yves gestures at the cake slices she has been taking and handing over to servants, and indicates a larger portion. More like three slices than just one. "Like, that big?" he asks, a large smile on his face. With whatever Audrialla offers, he takes his leave, thankful. Returning to where he'd been sitting, he settles in to watch the ongoing performances.

Bastien spends 1 luck points on To perform even better on his performance.
<FS3> Bastien rolls Singing: Great Success. (2 7 4 4 3 6 1 5 7 4 8 2 4 5 6 8)

Audrialla winks at Yves and nods to the request. Lots of cake. Spying Farah with a slice she grins and offers a friendly bob of a curtesy instead of a wave. Then she stands with the other contestants to witness the next act.

The young lord walks out to center stage. Bastien is dressed in a blue silk doublet, it is covered in embroidery of golden fish. Tuffs of bright white fabric explodes from the shoulders and elbow, as well as at the cuffs. His grey eyes picking up hues of blue from the doublet. He starts singing. His voice a fine high tenor sings out as he performs an operatic aria. As he sings, his body remains mostly straight, though his hands move slightly. His poise is that of the Eglantine courtesan that he was trained to be.

There is some polite applause, as Bastien enters the stage. But that and the soft murmurs and whispers soon subside into a silence of rapt attention. When the Lis d'Or trained lord whose life had taken a turn right before his debut graces the auditorium with the beauty of his voice and the technique of years spent in perfecting his skill. It is a performance truly made for this stage, and the audience acknowledges this with their loud and enthusiastic applause, once he is done.

The members of the jury are taking notes.

The Duchesse of Eisande listens with a deepening smile, inclining her head towards Bastien after he has finished his song.

Audrialla is weeping at the beauty of the song. She claps loudly when it is done and wipes the tears from her green eyes.

Farah almost forgets the slice of cake that rests on a plate in her lap, as she listens, her dark eyes wide with wonder. She too is among those that brings her hands together in applause for the young talented lord.

Similarly, Yves applauds, needing to balance his fork on the plate for a moment so that he can clap without getting cake all over.

Once Bastien has taken his bows, he subtly makes his way over to where the cake is being quickly dwindled away by those lucky enough to get a slice. He is quite pleased that he manages to be amongst those who got to taste the magnificent cake.

Someone arrives, a little late perhaps. And there is little fanfare in the manner Estelle enters, clad in red flowing robes of a Priestess of Naamah. Just a soft 'clink' of golden bangles worn on her wrists, and the almost inaudible rustle of silk. She offers a deep curtsey to the duchesse and then moves on to the herald, to whisper a few words into his ear. At his reaction, she cannot help but smile. Before she moves to the side. Waiting.

The herald rolls his eyes just so, before he looks towards the duchesse, and then towards the audience. "It pleases Sister Estelle to enter the competition with a dance. So please welcome to the stage Estelle Lacroix, our priestess of Naamah."

Audrialla offers cake to Bastien with a smile. "That was so beautiful. Truly, you are blessed with such a gift. I think you shall take the prize, no doubt and I will be honored to lose to you."

Finally finishing off his over-sized slice of cake, Yves spots a passing servant who looks to be bringing the plates to Audrialla, and flags them down. "Please, if you'd be so kind," he says, being as kind as he can, and hands over the plate for them to bring back for him as well. Turning his attention back to the stage, he watches with rapt attention.

Bastien smiles and cants his head, as he looks to Audrialla, "Oh, I would not be so sure. Your cake looked truly amazing and the taste is just as inspiring." His attention turns to the stage to watch the next performance.

<FS3> Estelle rolls Dancing: Good Success. (4 5 6 4 3 2 7 7 2)
<FS3> Estelle rolls Dancing: Great Success. (8 4 7 2 4 8 8 6 4)
<FS3> Estelle rolls Seduction: Great Success. (7 2 1 7 3 8 2 8 2 2 2 8 2 1)

Estelle enters the stage with a confident yet slightly contemplative stride. She approaches the musicians from earlier to give a few directions for the musical accompaniment in hushed tones and then returns to the center. "I wish to contribute," the priestess announces, "a dance. To honor Naamah."

Silence falls over the audience, as she stands there, her gaze lowered, arms crossed lightly at the wrists before her. When the music sets in, it is drums and fiddle, not quite martial in beat as earlier, but more of a slower, almost seductive quality. Estelle uncrosses her arms and draws them to the sides and then lifts them high. Launching into a sensual dance, that definitely carries some of Naamah's allure and spirit. Hips move and sway, as she begins to move in a circle, bangles jingling as she moves her arms, painting graceful patterns in the air. Were this service at the temple, or a feast at the Night Court, who would know how much further this would have been gone. But as it is, here in the opera Estelle will complete the dance without shedding a single layer of her clothes.

Ortolette is in her own box, beside her mother's and rather less lofty, hosting some number of guests of her own who have some way or another earned an invitation to share the view from above. Ortolette's seat is in the right-hand fore corner, where she can lean against a decorative pillar with a cushion interposed for her comfort, her legs tucked up to her side on the seat with her. It's only now that Estelle is dancing that slices of cake are being delivered from liveried hands, finding Ortolette in the aftermath of no little internal commotion after Bastien's masterful vocals. She takes the serving of cake and presses down with the side of her fork near its edge, testing its consistency before severing it from its material while her wide hazel eyes remain fastened upon the dancing priestess.

Bastien watches the priestess sway and dance before the audience. Like a rabbit caught in the gaze of a serpent, he is enraptured by the dance. Once it is over, The young Mereliot brings his hands together in applause. "Brava!" Now he begins the arduous take of finding a seat in the near full opera house. Eventually he finds a seat to take his rest, as he watches the other performers.

Audrialla shakes her head in awe. Such talent. Such beauty. She watches enraptured by the priestess grace.

The jury is taking notes. And it will take a moment, after the dance is over, before someone starts to applaud, and others soon join in.

Ortolette does not begin the applause, but she is not shy of following it— though with her gloves in place, it's probable she's not adding much to the noise. Still, the approval is clear.

As he did previously, Yves applauds as appropriate, now without a fork and plate to complicate things. As the priestess leaves the stage, he glances around, curious if there are any other competitors remaining.

Estelle moves to stand, from where she had thrown herself down in a dramatic kneel towards the end of her performance. She offers the audience a bright smile, murmuring to herself, "This certainly will attract more visitors to our temple…"

Ortolette takes up her plate once more, and, having tasted the cake once, she even tastes it again, turning aside between acts to share a few words with the Lady sitting by her side.

Valerie Cherevin arrives a bit late but ready to perform. The dark haired lady is wearing a beautiful and flowing gown of black silk, somber yet still quite elegant. The gown trails the floor as she walks, both the skirt and sleeves long and billowing softly as if touched by a breeze. That dark hair is pulled up into an elegant style, halfway pinned up with silver rose shaped clips and left halfway cascading down her right shoulder. She appears calm as it becomes her turn to take the stage and perform. "I wish to perform a routine that is ment to represent change and growth, the shedding of ones old skin to embrace a new part of ones self." She takes center stage with a graceful glide and begins to sing in a gentle alto.

<FS3> Valerie rolls Singing: Good Success. (3 3 2 2 8 7 3 4 1)
<FS3> Valerie rolls Dancing: Amazing Success. (2 8 5 8 7 5 7 7 7 3)
Valerie spends 1 luck points on Hit that high note.
<FS3> Valerie rolls Singing+5: Good Success. (3 1 3 3 4 4 1 3 5 4 4 7 8 7)

Valerie song starts off low, a haunting and lonely tune that slowly grows more and more hopeful with each note she sings. It tells the story of a girl, ignored and trying to prove herself in a world where she feels invisible. The girl learns not to trust and guards her heart until one day she meets someone who manages to break down those walls she built. Here Valerie's voice rises, speaking of hope and love and as she sings this final verse she twirls beautifully shedding the somber black dress she wears to reveal a slightly shorter dress of glittering silver silk beneath it. As the black silk flutters to the floor Valerie raises her hands and sings the final words of the song, her voice hitting a beautiful sounding high note in the process.

Happy to have witnessed another brilliant performance, Yves lifts his hands and applauds loudly. Joining in the general chorus of pleased sounds and revelry at the procession of talented performers.

Audrialla claps heartily for then lovely performance. "Ah, this is true artistry," she proclaims. "My cake pales in comparison."

The members of the jury take notes.

And the audience cheers for a grand performance, especially the dancing is exquisite and flawless and adds a very special charm to the delivery of the song.

<FS3> Alair rolls Dancing: Great Success. (4 8 1 7 8 4 3 4 3 1 1 1 8)
<FS3> Alair rolls Tumbling: Success. (2 8 4 1 5 3 2 3 3)
<FS3> Alair rolls Dancing: Great Success. (5 2 8 8 4 2 3 2 7 7 2 6 5)
Alair spends 1 luck points on Tumbling Reroll.
<FS3> Alair rolls Tumbling: Good Success. (2 2 7 8 1 4 3 1 1)

Alair de l'Ange makes his appearance at the performance competition in relatively plain costume, but he does not come with a plain performance. It must primarily be called a dance performance, but he incorporates significant portions of tumbling, weaving together the tricks of roadside entertainers with the technique of elite dance that one might pay a high price to see a grand company deploy on this same stage. The solo dance breaks into two parts: the dashing but methodical hunter, and the wild and ferocious beast. While the former sets the scene with great and manful confidence, it is the latter's part in which all the performer's skills are most spectacularly displayed. The beast, surely a great cat, to tell by the movements, leaps, evades, pounces, turns, flips, flashes and frenzies until at last brought down by a hunter's arrow that seems to strike him out of the air in the very midst of his grandest leap, stopping his rotation dead. The beast of course makes a sentimentally noble and beautiful death, falling into an attitude of repose that could surely be assumed only by one who has spent all in achieving the greatest glory. The performer himself must be exhausted by the effort, but he is certainly able to rouse himself and receive his applause before quitting the stage in favor of the next.

Bastien watches the performance. As the dancer begins, the young noble gives his fellow competitor his full attention, but as the performance becomes more intense, Bastien gets completely drawn into it. When the Alair stands to take his applause, Bastien cries out, "Bravo! Bravo!"

Alair makes his bow smiling, taking great care to note where the accolades come from. So as he dismounts the stage, he moves out into the house, ostensibly to join the crowd to watch his competitors. But he ends up near Bastien. "Thank you for your kindness, my young lord," he says, summoning another sunny smile.

Ortolette gazes down from above, half-lurking back in the shade of her box, until the dance of the hunt draws her forward. Her expression remains composed, but her eyes fix most intently upon the dancer and those tight, sinuous tumbles. She places together her gloved hands in approval, and traces the dancer's progress into the audience where he settles with Bastien.

Bastien smiles and nods to Alair, "No kindness, it is well deserved praise. I was quite taken by your performance. " The younger man smiles wider, "I thought you were talented when I saw you performing in the plaza, but I was truly amazed by what I just witnessed." Bastien looks across the house, gazing at audience and previous performers alike. "There certainly has been some talent presented for the people this day. I do not envy the judges their job."

Alair does not neglect to look to the boxes, either, to see who might be up there, beyond his reach but not beyond his interest. And so inevitably, his eyes meet Ortolette's. Another smile. The dimples are visible even at a distance. "How good of you to remember me, my lord," Alair is saying meanwhile, and then his gaze returns to Bastien. "If you liked my performance, I must tell you how much I would love to be engaged to deliver it again. Can you think what a sad thing it is for a work of such beauty to live its whole life and die in a matter of minutes, like a moth?"

Ortolette can't hear the conversation down there, amid the general murmur of those enjoying the present intermission. But her interest is piqued, certainly, and if the eye contact forces a sideways flutter of her gaze and a modest dip back into her box, possibly more for habit's sake than not, soon she's leaning forward again, gloved arms draped over one another on the rail and her cheek nestled atop one of them. And of all the people she might watch, the tenor and the tumbler have her attention.

Bastien chuckles softly, "But is that not the beauty of such? Each performance lives only a breath of time, yet made immortal in the memories of those who witnessed their excellence." He cocks his head, "But I might have a venue in a few months where your talent might be well suited." He smiles, "And of course I remember you. I always remember that which inspires me."

"Sad things are beautiful, my lord," Alair answers. "But then again, the man who makes beautiful things…he can't eat tragedy." Another smile. "Tell me more about your venue. It sounds like the very place I'd like to be inspiring in."

Ortolette gasps softly, rising from her graceful drape, and she leans to the side to laugh with a companion over some remark that had roused her from her consideration. They press hands, gloved though they may be, and then someone is on hand to deliver drinks, of which Ortolette takes one and then, with a cock of her head, she addresses a few words to the employee.

Bastien cants his head slightly, "I have been told, that my eighteenth birthday should be a celebration, as it marks me becoming a man and taking the title of Baron of Auzzonet. A fete of the like needs performers to entertain." He glances up at the reserved boxes, pondering. "The organizing of such is new to me, so it is a good thing that I have a few months to plan it."

Alair sneaks another glance up at the boxes while Bastien explains, but it's not a long enough look to break his attention. "What if someone took that difficult work off your hands, my lord?" Alair posits. Hypothetically, of course. "Someone who knows performers and how to negotiate with them? Someone with enough creativity not to just send out for the usual Eglantines and Orchis?"

Ortolette's eyes are returned long emough to their spot in the crowd that they meet Alair's gaze, holding it, this time, while she drinks from crystal. Then she lifts her line of sight aloft to enjoy the architectural elements here at altitude. Not too long thereafter a young woman moves down through the seating and dips in a curtsey to Lord Bastien, waiting for acknowledgement before reporting that the Lady Ortolette has issued an invitation for her kinsman and his companion to come visit her in her box, if it suits them, before the next performances.

Bastien smirks slightly, "Well, I would want some of the usual Eglantines and Orchis as well, of course, but I think that we might be able to work out an arrangement." As the young lady offers Lady Ortolette's invitation, he takes the moment to looking at Alair, "Well, it seems that we have been invited to join my cousin, up in her box. Would you like to join me?"

"I know some of them, too," Alair admits. He dips his head at the invitation, surely considering it good fortune. "I would be so happy to," he replies. "Your cousin too must be a benefactor." He makes to follow directly.

Bastien smiles to the young lady. "Thank you for relaying your lady's invitation. We would be delighted to accept." With that the young lord rises from his seat to follow Ortolette's girl.

Ortolette's box, at present, is lacking a few of its company, who have gone to take advantage of the intermission to go and walk about. But Ortolette is, of course, never very keen on perambulation — though she seems in a healthful mood, of recent, and even ascended the stairs to her box on her own. Now it's only herself and her friend Joielle, who sits close by and continues amiable chatter over drinks until the fellows arrive.

Alair follows last, because he is the commoner of the group, and it wouldn't do to get a reputation for springing into ladies' boxes. He makes a bow as they enter, and straightens up with a smile.

As Bastien and Alair join Ortolette and Joielle in the private box, Bastien offers his cousin a deep bow, "Thank you for your offer, Lady Ortolette. I am happy to see that you are feeling well enough to attend the contest today." He looks to Alair and smiles, "If you have not yet had the pleasure, may I introduce Alair. Alair, this is my cousin, Lady Ortolette."

Ortolette is seated at the very front of the box, the better to see down and to be seen from below— and at the very rightmost seat, where a cushion has been set up against the wall and she is very cozily nestled on one side so as to rest against it even while appearing very easily to be sitting straight up from below. The Lady Joielle is in the seat next to her, but she rises when the fellows come, taking away her drink and dipping into a curtsey before Lord Bastien. Ortolette herself does not rise, but she inclines her head almost in time with Joielle's own curtsey. "Sweet cous; your aria was," she shakes her head. "Breathtaking. I would not say so but for the fact that we are kin, but the first time I heard you sing, I thought you hopeless, indeed. How silly I was," she smiles graciously. "Monsieur Alair. I'm grateful my cous did bring you to make introduction. Your dance, I must ask, did you choreograph it yourself?"

Bastien bursts into laughter. It is indeed joyful. Despite his humored reception of Ortolette's comment, the young nobleman does blush slightly. "Thank you, dear cousin. I recall our first meeting, and it was not my best performance, but I was not in my best head space, but I am glad that I could change your mind about me." He chews on his lower lip as he thinks back to the meeting and shakes his head.

"My lady, you honor me with your invitation," Alair says, rising. There are dimples. "To answer honestly, I have to put humility aside. I do not think there is any other fellow in Marsilikos who can choreograph such a dance, besides myself. It is my invention."

Ortolette seems contented with Bastien's laughter, her little doll-like smile spreading into something more companionable. She casts her eyes back to the door, where someone is arrived with a fresh tray of wine glasses and nibbles, who brings it down for the fellows to make their choices. She nods her head to Alair's being honored, acknowledging tacitly that it must, indeed, be so. She draws a breath at his consideration. "I must say it seems your humility is light enough to set aside with ease, Monsieur Alair." It's neither in particular a scold, but neither quite praise. It might have a note of a warning in it if her voice were not so very child-like still. "It reminded me somewhat of Priscine's La Nullaphe… the Dance of the Nymphs. Have you studied the piece?"

<FS3> Ortolette rolls Fine Arts: Good Success. (6 1 2 4 7 5 3 8 7 5 4)

Bastien takes a glass of wine, offering a smile and a nod in return, "Thank you." He moves over to the opposite wall as Ortolette. He leans against the decorative column, so that he can keep an eye on the stage as well as the exchange between Ortolette and Alair.

A late entry to the contest is announced just now. One Gabriel Rousse no Rose Sauvage, a novice of the red roses. The regal youth glides onto center stage wearing a pair of black silk pants and a form fitting shirt of white silk that is teasingly almost transparent. The music starts up, low and teasing and the youth with his long black hair moves with a glide, multiple ribbons of blood red silk now suddenly seen from where they are tied to his wrists and ankles. His dance is one of smooth flighty movements, like prey gracefully evading predators while offering a teasing chase at the same time.

Alair accepts what he's offered, drinking from the glass and sampling the food. He does not look shamed by the lady's remark. "A tumbler can wear nothing heavy, my lady," he replies. "Yet I know as well as you that I am a commoner. I have not been sent to the dancing schools to study; I have been always on the road and doing my own work. I have picked up what I know from many sources, and sometimes from looking in through cracks in the walls of places I could never buy a ticket for." He smiles and dips his head, summoning at least a show of that light humility. "A bad way to learn names and titles, my lady."

<FS3> Gabriel rolls Dancing: Good Success. (2 2 2 6 1 5 7 8 3 7 5 3)
<FS3> Gabriel rolls Dancing: Success. (3 7 2 1 4 3 4 4 6 4 2 6)
<FS3> Gabriel rolls Dancing: Amazing Success. (3 1 7 7 7 1 4 7 6 8 2 8)

Gliding gracefully accross the stage Gabriel manages some rather fancy footwork as the music picks up. Red ribbons trail him as he dances, mimicing pursuers that he cannot escape. Finally as the dance draws near to a close he leaps beautifully into the air spinning a full cicle while keeping his body aloft. The ribbons wrap around him and he crandles them in a gentle embrace as he lands, once more at center stage. With a flourish he throws his arms out and bows gracefully to the audience. He smiles gently and upon spying Bastien in the audience he favors the man a more direct look and a warm smile, just for him.

Bastien cants his head as he watches the young novice join the entrants to the contest. He watches with rapt attention. He grins, as he is granted a smile from Gabriel. He nods to the young dancer, as he watches on from one of the boxes.

Ortolette regards Alair quietly and without much in the way of compassion for his troubles in life, but possibly more as a breeder regarding the stock. "A bad way, indeed. But you are skilled; you have talent and form. I would like, one day, to see you perform Drys' role, if you would study and learn it," she proposes, and then, perhaps, is done with what she has to say to the dancer, for she turns away from him, and fixes her cousin once more with her attention. "And you, cousin, must sing for me more often." To kin and nobility somewhat warmer and more cheery.

Bastien nods to Alair as he takes his leave. He then turns his sterling grey eyes to Ortolette and smiles gently, "I will sing for you whenever you like. You have but to ask." He takes a sip from his glass and looks down to the audience and the stage from this angle. He could really get used to such.

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